Journey to the Caribic and all over the country!

Trip Start Feb 24, 2009
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Trip End Aug 2009


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Monday, April 6, 2009

Aileen and I got very excited, when we were about to leave for our first big journey through Costa Rica together with our friend Lars, that we met last summer on the island in Croatia working with RUF.
We got all tickled about the new places and things we were about to discover and it all started up on a friday morning, 5 o´clock, sitting in bus towards San José. Lars already got there the night before and got to know the cute little family of our friend Alonso, who gave us the warmest and best welcome when we first got to Costa Rica, too. After refreshing ourselves with some strong coffee and delicious melon we finally started our journey, and our first destination was called Puerto Viejo, where we got after an eight hour bus ride! The busses are all pretty much old school busses from the States, that are most likely to fall apart one day, but somehow they still manage to bring us anywhere we want :) The bus ride itself was amazing, coming from the cordilleras mountain range and getting down through lush, green valleys, driving through banana plantations, passing cute little villages, observing the daily routine of people passing by, selling their fruits and vegetables on the street and getting deeper and deeper into the wild looking green. The most amazing part about bus rides is, that its always such a sensation not to know, where the bus will take you to and not knowing, what to expect. People get down the bus and get along their way, but you just remain seated and wonder, where else it will take you!
We finally arrived to Puerto Viejo, a small village right at the beach that looked like a combination of a fishers and a jamaican style town, colorful, music playing everywhere, little dusty streets and everything drenched into peacefulness. We went further out the centre and followed a small road, before we got stocked and amazed by the place, where we were going to stay! 'Rocking J´s' was its name and never before we had seen such a hostel !! Appearing to us like a small village itself, covered all over with mosaic stones and being a big work of art, starting from the shared bathrooms over to the communal space and the ´hammock hotel´, a huge hallway full of hammocks. We decided to stay in hammocks, first due to our budget, but as we found out later, more of coziness, that swept us away :)
We enjoyed our new home a lot, relaxing in the hammocks and reading books, renting bikes one day and discovering the nearby beachside of Manzanillo, that ended up to be a chaotic mess, due to a flat tire of Aileens bici! *haha* But a nice, spacious Pickup is never far away in Costa Rica and so we ended up in the back of one, the three of us and our 3 bicis all tied up! Soon after we got into a police razzia and we thought, this can't get any worse than it already is :( But fortunately the police officers didn't mind at all, us sitting in the back, and let us pass by with a smile :)
The beach was right in front of the hostel and one night they put up a big bonfire, where all the people gathered around and breathing in the warm atmosphere of the night, guitars playing and peoples chatting. It was a place, you could leave everything else behind, because it wouldn't have mattered.
When we wanted to move on north ways towards Tortuguero, town of the turtles, we soon found out that we had to be creative to do so, due to a strike that blocked a bridge on the way and let no cars nor busses pass by! So we took a taxi until the blockage, then walked though it, looking anxiously at the people, getting down under some strings and passing by washing machines, burning tires and who else knows what was out there :)
We never found out, what the strike was actually about, but it was a funny experience of costarican style strike *g* Lucky as we are, we once again found a Pickup, that took us all the way up to Limon and from there we went on a 5 hour boat ride all the way up to Tortuguero! Everyone has been to a place, that seemed like the end of the world, but this place REALLY IS exactly like that :)
A small village, only accessible by boat, with no streets and no cars, only some little houses spread all over and the most beautiful beach, right in front of it, that we have seen so far! We stayed in a cute cabina and from there took of the next morning in a small nutshell, with Bubba our oarsman, through the secrets of Tortuguero National park. Surrounded by green forest and just right in time at 6 o´clock in the morning, when the life on the forest was awakening, we found ourselves in the middle of birds, caymans, small turtles, butterflies and monkeys again! Afterwards we discovered the resort walking through it, wearing black gumboots (that made us look hilarious) and starting up a fight in the beach, rolling down covered with black san all over towards the water! Tortuguero also has a small museum, where we watched a movie about the nesting of the turtles and how they protect them from bandits that steal their eggs.
Also these days passed by fast, discovering delicious Cuba Libre for the first time, that was a welcomed alternative to cerveza and guarro, typical and very cheap costarican liquor *g* Victor, whose cabinas we stayed in, also shared a lot of stories with us, telling us about crocodiles, that killed a small kid one day and nowadays warning us to better be cautious (we saw a 3 meter crocodile on our way up there, that was so close to our boat, we could face it eye to eye!! So scary!!).
All the calmness and silence was gone, when we headed towards mainland again to La Fortuna, where the most famous out of all costarican volcanoes, the Arenal, is at its ground. Staying in ´Gringos Pete´, a purple painted hostel that first worried us a bit, was a cheap and nice place, from where we could discover the places around. We went for a night lava tour (with lava guarantee, if you don't see it the night you book the tour *g*), but besides a scary bridge we had to cross and a lot of fun people to be around that went with us on the tour, we didn't find any steamy lava at all! *haha, who would have guessed?* So we all ended up in nearby hot springs and drifted away with a great starry night and lots of laughter! Next day we went to a huge hot springs area that offered 25 different pools with different temperatures and a great view of Arenal. What a great day, that we spend with some friends, we got to know before, and drifting away in the hot pools.  
Our last stop then was Monteverde, the most ´touristy´ place in Costa Rica! It's known for its cloud forest reserves as well as for its great canopying J We spoiled both of it and it's hard to say, what has been more fun! The Santa Elena National Park was amazing, walking through this kind of like jungle and observing the nature and birds, that swirled around us. And feeling the rush of adrenalin in our veins doing canopying, when we slided though the tree tops and jumping down with a liana into nothing but air.
After that Aileen and I had to go back to Liberia, facing reality and university again, while Lars took off towards Manuel Antonio. We met up again in Liberia, where he was our first guest and also the first time that it was raining in Liberia! :) It was something unreal, that was happening, but felt so refreshing at the same time.
Those 10 days past by too fast, but hold such a great memory! Ready to go again anytime :)
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